News / USA

Effort Under Way to Expand US Parks, Playgrounds

Volunteers, Organizations Expand Parks and Playgroundsi
X
June 14, 2013 11:56 AM
Public parks are important to urban life, but green spaces and play areas are rare in many cities. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles that many organizations and volunteers are trying to change that.
Mike O'Sullivan
Public parks are important to urban life, but green spaces and play areas are rare in many cities.  Many organizations and volunteers are trying to change that.

At the Environmental Charter Middle School in the Los Angeles community of Gardena, several hundred volunteers are building a play area, sanding down benches, putting up swings and slides, and adding a touch of green with shrubs and bushes.

“Everyone needs a place to play, no matter how old they are,” noted parent Jennifer Briseno.

Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
x
Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
Mexican actress/singer Dulce Maria, far left, helps to build a children's playground at City of Lynwood Park, Aug. 29, 2012, in Lynwood, California.
Play lets the kids engage the world, which they can't always do in the classroom, added school principal Kami Cotler.

“They don't have those opportunities to play with sticks in the mud, and to learn the really powerful lessons you learn when you get to do that,” she explained.

The newly renovated Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has also brought some of its exhibits outdoors.  Kids learn about insects, birds and reptiles in their natural environment, partly on the site of  a former parking lot.  It's part of a new focus, according to landscape architect Mia Lehrer.

“You can enjoy the gardens, but also learn something, if you are inspired to,” she said.

Los Angeles ranks far behind such cities as Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco in its public park space, according to a survey by the non-profit Trust for Public Land.   The Trust's Jodi Delaney said outdoor spaces are important, especially for children.

“Many of them spend one percent of their time in parks," she said. "And 27 percent of their time watching television.”

Delaney said parks are also important for adults.  They are places to relax, exercise and get in touch with nature.

She said Los Angeles ranked 34th in the national survey of cities and their parks.  The survey ranked 50 cities by factors such as level of investment, the size of parks and access to parks in all neighborhoods.

“Where we could do better is a little bit on access,  And the Trust for Public Land is actually working shoulder to shoulder with city and county officials to improve that,” added Delaney.

A charity called KaBOOM! is behind the school playground enhancements in the city of Gardena.  The charity has built hundreds of playgrounds around the United States.   
Getting the community involved is making a difference, said Vaughn Sigmon of CarMax, a seller of used cars.  He brought 170 volunteers from his company.  He said parks and outdoor spaces are important for children, and his company and its workers have pledged to build a total of 30 playgrounds.

“It's the best place to get fresh air, get some exercise,” he stated.

The school in Gardena now has a playground, adding to the outdoor green and play spaces that are so needed in Los Angeles.

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid